“The Best Of Us” was a fantastic summer read. This was my first book by Sarah Pekkanen and I really liked everything about it! The novel followed several friends and their spouses on a trip to Jamaica. The actions of the characters mirrored exactly what people do on vacation, and how they speak and respond to each other. The “remember this, remember that” dialogue that took place as the college friends united got a little old for me, but did provide a strong background for each character. The writing was great and very descriptive. Usually having a story told from several different points of view makes for a brief overall story, but here, the narrations all merged into each other really well. The ending of one chapter told by one character seamlessly set up the beginning of the next chapter told by another character.
The novel had a steady flow to it, which layered the characters and their issues. Allie and Savannah were my favorite characters because they were so honest. Their desire to have a good time on the trip and in their life was so genuine. Pauline’s story was my least favorite, although she was intentionally made to be the hardest character to like. Tina’s constant worrying over her children back home was annoying. She represented the struggles of mothers, and although I couldn’t relate to her, I imagine that many mothers would. Prudes beware! There was a lot of sex, and infidelity was running rampant. This was a book that had constant peaks in the plot, which kept it interesting. There wasn’t really any huge crescendo of action other than the hurricane. It was a good balance that a few characters struggled with a huge issue, while other characters were just struggling through the rut of marriage and being in their thirties. I don’t know that people in their twenties would really appreciate the story lines and themes in this book because it focused a lot on marriage and children. It was comforting that all the plot lines resolved in the end, although not completely. There was room for each character to continue growing and changing the way they lived.
This book was so much better than I expected it to be and I encourage others to read it!